#1 on the LIST – Recycle More, Throw Away Less

I’ve always liked recycling.  I remember being excited that the city was giving us bins to separate paper, glass, etc. from trash.  Even now, I find that I’ll leave clutter around in the name of recycling.  But I think we still produce a lot of trash that could be recycled instead.  So it’s time to figure out how.

The stuff that is obvious and easy has been recycled at our house for a long time.  Newspapers, tin cans, glass bottles, soda cans, boxes, and plastic milk jugs all get recycled without a second thought.  But I’m never sure what other plastics I could be recycling.  Is this pizza box ok to recycle?  I thought greasy pizza boxes were off limits but my brother-in-law said they were fine.

I like those Domino’s pizza proverbs.  I find them funny, along with whatever silly stuff is written on taco bell sauce packets.  Anyhoo, what about this cup and straw from the iced tea we got the other day?  It’s plastic..  Can I recycle that too?

Is this bag of pop chips recyclable?  It looks to be aluminum foil-y on the inside.  Is it ok?

For some reason, I thought water bottles were ok for recycling but their caps weren’t.  Do I need to rinse food containers before throwing them in the bin?  Lots of questions.  So I went to my go-to solution finder:  google.

Found this awesome resource for our city:  http://www.cityofirvine.us/programs/recycling/household-recycling/grey-cart-items/.  It helped me make sense of what’s ok and what’s not.  Oh!  How great – I can pretty much recycle plastic items that are labeled 1-9!  That’s a lot of stuff!  And I CAN drop the shredded paper into the recycling bin – I just have to put it in a bag.  Awesome.  I just need to take some time and figure out what gets the thumbs up and what gets filed in the round file.  I’ve always thought that phrase was corny.  That’s why it’s so important I use it right now.

We’re one step ahead of the game because we don’t buy much soda in cans or bottled water or two-liters or get a daily newspaper, so that limits our waste.  Since we cloth diaper, that saves us tons (literally) of diaper trash too.  I’ve been taking my own bags to the grocery store and other retailers, so we’ve cut back considerably on that.  So how can we reduce some more trash?

I think I need to be more diligent about paper, paper towels, tissue boxes, tp and paper towel rolls, and plastic wrapping.  I really want to reduce the amount of trash we produce by using cloth wipes for baby’s bum too but I’m using up the large supply of disposable wipes we’ve purchased (because just throwing them away would be even more wasteful, wouldn’t it?).

Also, I think there’s some opportunity to just buy and consume less or at least buy items with less packaging.  I don’t know what yet but there’s gotta be some options out there.  Just the fact that we’re using more fresh fruits and vegetables helps, and especially because it’s from the farmer’s market, we have less clam shell and bag packaging.  I love that our garbage can is filling up more and more with pitts and peels and less with styrofoam.  One area that does bother me is that we order a lot from Amazon.  So often we’re doubling and sometimes tripling up on trash because the item we bought is in it’s manufacturer’s box within a shipping box that’s also full of packing materials.  Not good.  I’m not sure what to do about that, other than doing our best to recycle and reuse as much of that packing material and boxes as we can.

But back to recycling more.  My goal with this is to have more items in the recycle bin than we have in the trash bin on a regular basis. What can I do to make this more likely (ie easier?)  Well, for one, I bought one of these oh-so-attractive recycling cans for upstairs.

I was finding that we were throwing a bunch of stuff away because it wasn’t convenient to recycle it.  Well, this takes care of that, since our upstairs area is pretty small.  Secondly, I added a shortcut to the city’s recycling guidelines in our browser on the laptop so that if there is an item in question, I have easy access to what’s ok so I can quickly decide what to do with it.  Little steps, but I’m hoping for good results. Maybe we can even swap our medium sized garbage can for a small one!  My in-laws live in a huge house and they get by with a small trash can – I’m so impressed by that.  They recycle often – I love it!

I also want to look into buying biodegradable trash bags.  It’s no good to throw away biodegradable diaper inserts when they sit inside a trash bag that doesn’t biodegrade, is it?  So I encourage you to take a few minutes and look up your local recycling resource and find out what you can do…what do you do today to recycle more?

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